The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for more multi-sectoral partnerships at a country level to accelerate the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in its latest draft action plan released late last week. The Draft Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020 highlights six key objectives to reduce the burden of preventable morbidity and disability, including the need to:
  • strengthen advocacy and international cooperation; 
  • create health promoting environments; 
  • strengthen health systems to address prevention; 
  • support national capacity for quality research; 
  • monitor and evaluate progress; and
  • strengthen multi-sectoral partnerships at a country level for accelerated action. 

The Plan acknowledges that surveillance, prevention and healthcare remain at the heart of effective NCD prevention and control. In line with its six overarching objectives, it provides a clear set of guidelines for Member States who are confronting the overweight and obesity issue at a national level.

With ageing populations, urbanisation and more sedentary lifestyles, the World Bank has projected that NCDs will contribute to more than 70 per cent of deaths in South East Asia by 2030. This has prompted widespread action from both the public and private sector.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, said there are already some good examples of how a multi-stakeholder approach is being used in Asia to fight the prevalence of NCDs.

“The Draft Action Plan shows that all sectors of society have a role to play in NCD prevention. I look forward to seeing the output of these partnerships in Asia as Governments build these recommendations into their national country plans to fight NCDs.”

“It is encouraging to see the private sector working together with Governments in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines to encourage healthy, active lifestyles. The recent industry Pledges, announced in both Singapore and Malaysia, to reduce marketing of less healthy food to children demonstrates the industry is prepared to take proactive action to help the public sector meet their national health targets.

“The Draft Plan shows WHO clearly values the role the private sector has to play in NCD prevention. I look forward to seeing how the public and private sector build on these partnerships, as Government’s start to build these recommendations into their national country plans to fight NCDs.”

The recommendations consolidate key Member States commitments as part of the Political Declaration , together with outcomes of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in September 2011.